Friday, September 26, 2008

Bicycle parking: It's the law

Starting this month, according to new national building requirements, the provision of bicycle parking is the law. The new requirements, as spelled out in the Magyar Közlöny (Hungarian Bulletin -- see the PDF) require specific amounts of parking for 15 categories of buildings, from residential flats to restaurants to cinemas to factories.

Here's a summary, translated to the best of my (questionable) abilities:
  • Flats, stand-alone houses: 1 space
  • Stores, markets (under 1,000 sq m): 2/150 sq m floor space*
  • Stores, markets (above 1,000 sq m): 2/500 sq m floor space*
  • Hotels: 2/15 rooms
  • Restaurants: 2/75 sq m dining space*
  • Universities, high schools and other educational facilities: 2/ 50 sq m space*
  • Cinemas, theaters and other entertainment facilities: 5/50 seats
  • Museums and other cultural institutions: 5/500 sq m with a maximum of 50*
  • Sport facilities and strands: 2/20 people
  • Hospitals: 1/50 beds
  • Factories: 1/10 workplaces
  • Storage facilities: 1/10,000 sq m storage
  • Tram and local bus end stops: plan for 5 percent of riders to use bikes
  • Train stations and long-distance bus stops: 5
* Means that I was somewhat perplexed about just exactly what the text was getting at

When I first got word of these new requirements (in the recent bicycle supplement of HVG), I was genuinely enthused. How progressive is that?! I thought. I was thinking of a similar law passed in Paris, one of many tools that politicians there used to boost cycling levels by 57% from 1997-2004. Then my wife reminded me that laws in Hungary often have very little impact on people's behaviour. (A prime example, one that ticks her off to no end, are the smoking restrictions introduced at the end of the '90s: they required restaurants and bars to have non-smoking space, but a decade later, a typical non-smoking section in Hungary still consists of the lone table not furnished with an ashtray.)

So, yes, bike-parking requirements aren't the silver bullet that will make Budapest Amsterdam. Still, though, I think it's something to keep in mind next time you go to a store or a bar or wherever, and can't find a decent place to lock up your bike. You can remind the manager that some customers come on two wheels. Bike parking isn't just good business, by the way, it's the law.

1 comment:

sam said...

Hi Greg,

This really is great. I wish there was a similar law here in Connecticut!

NYC just had a big bike parking competition. It got lots of press coverage, and was a good way to bring the issue into the local conciousness.

Maybe Budapest should follow suit!